Monday, November 6, 2006

The Jesus Statue

The Jesus Statue was not actually a statue of Jesus, or at least that’s what we think. It used to reside on the opposite end of the quad, facing the quad. It has since been moved closer to the graveyard in the back. A few other statues were moved around as well, but none quite as famous as the Jesus Statue.

Go seek out the statue and familiarize yourself with it. Then, return to the quad where it once stood and imagine what it must have looked like. If plans go through, a flagpole will be erected where the Jesus Statue used to be. Don't forget about what used to be there.

I say this as a non-Christian: it was not an offensive or religiously oppressing statue. It was just something that was there, and had been there since I arrived. Even today, the quad looks just a little empty with it missing.

This also highlights one of the problems in our society. Manhattanville used to be an all-girls Catholic school. It no longer is, but that is our schools’ heritage. While few would advocate restoring the school to be what it once was (me especially because I would get kicked out twice-being a male and not even Christian let alone Catholic), our heritage should be respected. An old statue situated around a few bushes should not offend anyone.

While the statue had a religious connotation, as it was called “the Jesus Statue", it was part of the heritage of our school. Also, it being there did not in itself act as a proselytizer. I can honestly say that in the entire time I have been here at Manhattanville I have not once been proselytized. Compare this to my ten-week summer internship in Washington, D.C., (where no such Jesus Statue is anywhere to be found) where I was overtly proselytized three times, as well as a few other more subtle attempts.

The feeling on campus at the time of the removal seemed to be that it was wholly unnecessary. Regardless, it has been done and is unlikely to be returned any time soon. For now, ask some of the upperclassmen about it and see if any of them have a picture to share with you. If you ask nicely enough, one of the upperclassmen will surly tell you a story about how it used to be. Just make sure to visit the Jesus Statue once in a while. Without the foot traffic of the quad that used to go by it, the statue is probably pretty lonely now. You can rectify that if you chose to.

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